Ohio State Opens the 2015 Season #StrongerTogether

Alexis Franklin
Alexis Franklin

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Jan. 8, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State track and field team opens the 2015 season this Friday, Jan. 9, as hosts of the Buckeye Classic at French Field House.

Ohio State begins its first season as a combined men's and women's program since 2005-2006 under the leadership of Karen Dennis, director of track & field and cross country. Dennis is entering her 13th season in Columbus, having served as an assistant sprints coach for the Buckeyes from 2003-2006 and as women's track & field and cross country head coach from 2006-2014.

"Practices have been going well, and the men and the women are enjoying the fact that we're together," Dennis said. "We're excited about being able to share in each other's successes and challenges, and we're looking forward to a great season."  

Field events at French Field House begin Friday at 4 p.m. ET, followed by running events at 4:30 p.m. Admission is free. Live results are available at the above link and scoring updates will be available on Twitter, @OhioState_MTRK and @OhioState_WTRK.

 A complete recap will be featured after the meet at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

#StrongerTogether
Stronger Together is the official team motto of the 2015 Buckeyes as the squad embarks on its first season as a combined program in nine years. #StrongerTogether will be featured throughout the season in social media posts.

Top Indoor Returners
Donovan Robertson - Robertson was a First Team All-American and Big Ten runner-up in the 60-meter hurdles in 2014, setting an Ohio State school record in the process (7.65). During the outdoor season, he earned Honorable Mention All-America honors and conference runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles.

Timothy Faust - The 2013 Big Ten indoor champion in the 200-meter dash, Faust was a four-time Big Ten silver medalist in 2014 (60-, 100- and indoor/outdoor 200-meter dashes). He earned Second Team All-America honors in the 200-meter dash during the indoor and outdoor seasons.

Katie Borchers - Borchers is just over a month removed from the finest individual women's cross country season in school history. She earned All-American, All-Region and All-Big Ten honors for the second-consecutive season while setting personal-best times in both the 5k and 6k. Borchers was the 2014 Big Ten outdoor champion in the 800-meter run and an Honorable Mention All-American. She placed fifth in the 800 during the indoor season.

Chesna Sykes - Sykes is entering her fifth season in Columbus. She is a two-time First Team All-American in the 4x100-meter relay, a three-time Second Team All-American (60-meter dash, 100-meter dash, 4x100-meter relay) and two-time Big Ten champion. She is widely regarded as one of the top short sprinters in the Midwest.

Abie Ehimwenman - Ehimwenman has turned in Top-3 finishes in the long jump at the Big Ten indoor championships each of the last two seasons, earning a silver medal in 2014 and a bronze in 2013.

Key Newcomers
Deshawn Marshall - 2014 NAIA indoor and outdoor national champion in the 400-meter dash ... 2014 WHAC indoor and outdoor champion in the 400-meter dash; fourth in the indoor 200 and sixth in the 100.

Davon Anderson - Claimed three state titles at the 2014 OHSAA Division I State Championships (110-meter hurdles, 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays); state runner-up in the 300 hurdles ... 2013 South Carolina state champion in the 110-meter hurdles and runner-up in the 100 ... 2012 South Carolina state champ in the 200 ... South Carolina Mr. Track, 2011-13 ... ... four-time MVP, All-State and All-American.

Nick Elswick - Competed in cross country as a freshman, leading the Buckeyes at three 8k meets ... 2014 OHSAA Division I state champion in the 3200m; runner-up in 2013 and fifth in 2012 ... runner-up in the 5000m at the 2013 New Balance Outdoor Nationals.

Allyson Simmons - Four-time state champion ... 2014 OHSAA Division II state champion and all-division state record holder in the pole vault (4.07 meters/13-4.25) ... 2014 OATCCC Division II state indoor champion and state record holder (3.81 meters/12-6.00) ... 2013 Division II state indoor and outdoor champion ... 2014 and 2013 All-American ... 2014 Gatorade Ohio Female Track & Field Athlete of the Year. 

Chantel Ray - Three-time Virginia state champion in the 100-meter hurdles; posted a personal-best time of 13.42 at the 2014 championships, state-meet record and the second-best time in state history behind Olympian Tear Brown ... two-time Virginia state indoor champion in the 55-meter hurdles (2014 and 2011); runner-up in 2013 and third place in 2012 ... competitor at the Brooks PR Invitational ... 2014 Virginia Gatorade Female Track Athlete of the Year.

Olivia Small - 2013 OHSAA Division I state champion in the long jump ... 2012 OHSAA Division I state runner-up in the long jump ... OATCCC Division I state champion in the long jump for three consecutive years (2012-14); meet-record holder (5.70 meters/18-8.25) ... back-to-back OATCCC Division I state champion in the triple jump (2013-14).

Buckeyes in the USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings
The Buckeye men are ranked 24th in the USTFCCCA Division I Indoor Track & Field Preseason Poll, released Tuesday.

OSU totaled 31.66 points in the season-opening poll, finishing .05 points behind 23rd-ranked UCLA. Six Big Ten teams are featured in the Top 25: No. 5 Penn State, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 14 Purdue, No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 22 Michigan State and the Buckeyes. Florida is the preseason No. 1-ranked team, followed by No. 2 Oregon and third-ranked Arkansas.

Robertson (No. 3, 60-meter hurdles) and Faust (No. 7, 200-meter dash; No. 21, 60-meter dash) are ranked among the Top 25 in their respective events, along with the Buckeyes' 4x400-meter relay team (No. 11).

The OSU women open the season ranked 66th overall. Four Big Ten rivals are represented in the Top 25: No. 14 Maryland, No. 15 Michigan, No. 19 Michigan State and No. 22 Wisconsin. Florida is also the top-ranked women's team in the preseason poll, followed by No. 2 Texas A&M and No. 3 Oregon.

Meet the Staff
Dennis is assisted by:

• Associate head coach Brice Allen (distance/XC), entering his third season in Columbus having spent the previous two seasons as associate head coach of the Buckeye men's team;
• Associate head coach Rosalind Joseph (jumps/multi-events), entering her seventh season at Ohio State. Joseph was associate head coach of the women's team for two seasons and an assistant coach from 2008-2012;
• Second-year assistant Sara Vergote (distance/XC);
• First-year assistant Joel Brown (sprints/hurdles);
• First-year assistant Ashley Muffet Duncan (throws)
• Volunteer assistants Rob Banhagel (pole vault/decathlon), Brian Brillon (horizontal jumps), Richard Ebin (pole vault), Richard Jones (sprints) and Richard Warren (high jump);
• and Director of Operations Fred Barends

"It was important in making this transition that we have a cohesive staff with the same goals and same energies," Dennis said. "We've got that. Now it's about transferring that vision and energy to our team."

Up Next
Ohio State has a week off before traveling to Lexington, Ky., for the Rod McCravy Memorial Jan. 23-24.